History is everywhere in Perast. The beauty of the village gets most of the modern attention, but this place is the product of its past, and those stories sparkle from the walls of its buildings. Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato is very much a part of it, occupying a building closely tied to Perast’s Golden Age while continuing proud traditions with its aim and focus. Perast is small but perfectly formed with a handful of excellent accommodation options, so how does Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato stand up to the competition?
First impressions of Heritage Hotel
The first impressions are positive, with friendly staff welcoming guests to the hotel with information and enthusiasm. The check-in process is quick and straightforward, with brochures and books at the reception providing more details about Perast and Montenegro. The hotel covers three floors and the ground floor, and the lack of an elevator means lots of ups and downs for guests. If you stay on the third floor (as we were), this means walking up three flights of stairs to get to your room. Sure, the walls are gorgeous, all exposed stone and history, but it is difficult to truly appreciate them when you are running out of breath. Maybe we should improve our cardio, but this is an early indication of the teething problems that await.
Rooms at Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato
The rooms at Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato are simple affairs, providing the necessary practicalities without being particularly impressive. The bed is wide and comfortable, although be aware that the double bed in question is actually two single mattresses pushed together. This is very common across the region, yet it never fails to be slightly frustrating. One day, the double mattress will make its presence felt across Montenegro, but that day is yet to arrive. Regarding double-singles, the beds at Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato are more than acceptable.
The bathroom is another thing entirely. The shower is decent, with excellent water pressure and a simple set-up, while the bathroom itself comes stocked with soaps, shampoos, shower gels and all the rest. The problem isn’t with the bathroom, but more the door to the bathroom. What could possibly be wrong with a bathroom door?
Well, it is transparent. This is another trend making its presence felt in boutique hotels across Europe, with many citing safety preferences and convenience, but it seems to abandon the entire concept of privacy for the sake of design. If you are travelling alone, sure, it doesn’t matter, but travelling with someone? No matter how close your relationship with someone is, privacy is privacy. Even if you are travelling alone, what happens if housekeeping enters the room at the most inopportune time? Maybe we’re getting old, but the bathroom should be a place of privacy, and a transparent door doesn’t provide even a hint of that.
Elsewhere, the small yellow couch is comfortable, and the air-conditioning is simple to use. Nothing about the rooms at Heritage Hotel Leon Coranoto screams four stars, in truth. The TV (rarely used, but there nonetheless) is to the side of the bed and the couch, in the most awkward position if it were to be used. Neighbouring buildings obscure the view from many rooms, and the aforementioned flights of stairs could be a deal breaker for many.
There are clear reasons for all of this, of course. While other four-star hotels nationwide can plough funds into overhauling buildings and adding elevators, Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato’s most essential and impressive characteristic stops it from doing the same. After all, this is a Heritage Hotel. If you want an elevator, then the tranquil splendour of Montenegro’s most beautiful village probably isn’t for you. People come to Perast for the serenity of the past, to experience a peaceful town with 17th-century architecture and an undeniable sense of calm. Last time I checked, there were no elevators in the 17th century. Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato’s rooms are handcuffed somewhat, but only if you are looking for mod cons and tech upgrades. By staying true to its historical shell, Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato offers accommodation in Perast, as it should be.
History and Heritage
As the name suggests, Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato is all about history and heritage, doffing its metaphorical cap to the men and women who made Perast a regional power all those centuries ago. The building once belonged to the highly respected Martinović-Brajković family, most notably the 17th-century sailor, mathematician and poet Marko Martinović. Perast was an important regional spot in those times for many reasons, chief among them its reputation as a place of shipbuilding expertise. Martinović was front and centre, opening one of the world’s first maritime schools in 1688. This wasn’t just a school for locals; Peter the Great famously sent sailors and captains here to learn how to build the best ships.
It isn’t just the building that shimmers with history. Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato takes its name from one of the most impressive ships built during those halcyon days. The Leon Coronato was pretty typical for its time, but its consistency and reliability made it a favourite in these parts. A three-masted vessel, the boat was an integral part of life in Perast, allowing for improved regional trade, communication and security. It is only fitting that Montenegro’s first heritage hotel takes such a moniker.
Food at Leon Coronato
Long-time visitors to Perast will be familiar with Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato’s food offer. This is because the in-house restaurant is older than the hotel, and it isn’t entirely accurate to call it an in-house restaurant. The place is called Đardin, after all, which means “garden.” The popular restaurant has been an integral part of Perast’s culinary scene for years, with its gorgeous garden proving popular with diners of all palates. Fish dishes are the focus, no great shock considering Perast’s location, with a focus on ingredients sourced from the area. The garden is objectively one of the most picturesque dining spots in Perast, and it is no great shock that it is a sought-after location for weddings and other celebrations.
The interior holds up its end of the bargain, its exposed stone showcasing the history and heritage of the building for all to see. Breakfast here is charming, although there is no shame in it taking second place to early morning dining by the sea. The breakfast offered at Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato changes with the season, which is understandable when considering the relative difference in guest numbers. Out of season, a small buffet compliments a selection of omelettes and sweet options, with excellent coffee providing a more than acceptable pick-me-up.
Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato is a good option in Perast, albeit one with a couple of marks against its name. The lack of elevators can’t be ignored, especially for older guests or those with mobility options, while minor tweaks can be made to the rooms to raise the quality from good to great. There isn’t anything glaringly wrong, but several wrinkles need to be ironed out.
These wrinkles are more evident at a place like Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato because the foundation is there for an extraordinary Montenegrin hotel experience. Perast is an incredible spot, a stunning seaside village with history and romance in abundance, and it deserves the high standards that its aesthetics set. It isn’t enough for a hotel to ride on the majesty of its location and history alone, although Heritage Hotel Leon Coronato certainly does its part to accentuate the magic of both. It is a very good hotel that could quite easily become fantastic, befitting the marvellous town that surrounds it.
Disclaimer: This review was conducted independently, and the trip was entirely self-funded by the reviewer. Note: All opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. Please be aware that this article contains affiliate links, and any purchases made through such links may result in a commission for the publisher at no additional cost to you.